What's Knoll's new task chair like to sit in?4 March 2010 by Jamie Mitchell
The market for office 'task chairs' is tough, and manufacturers are always keen to let us know just how 'revolutionary' their latest model is. But how much of what they say is hyperbole? Well, in the week before its official UK launch yesterday, I've been trying out Knoll's new chair, Generation by Knoll, to see if really is as good as they say
Understandably, the people at Knoll are very proud of their new chair. Designed by New Zealand-based Formway Design (which also designed Knoll's very successful chair, Life), Generation by Knoll is the product of years of hard work involving over 400 hours of video research into how people sit in today's offices. What they found out is that there is no perfect way of sitting; that workers need to be able to shift in their chairs to stay comfortable and efficient. In this way, Generation is very successful. Its back is made from a high-performance elastomer which is traditionally used for dishwasher hinges and ski-boot straps, but which, according to Knoll, has never been used on an office chair before.
This material forms a sort of net, which is highly flexible, supporting the body as the worker shifts position, and it's also very hard wearing. As well as a highly flexible back, the chair boasts 16 patents pending for utility and design applications including its seat, named 'Flex Seat', which has no hard frame or obtrusive levers, giving 270 degrees of seat edge flex, and the 'Flex Top' which folds over the top edge of the back to provide a comfortable armrest for side sitting and other informal postures. I haven't quite got used to this position yet, but perhaps I would in time.
What I found immediately striking about Generation is its simplicity. The flexible back, and the chair's shape means it requires hardly any adjustment - a huge plus point in my book. Simplicity has also contributed to the chair's environmental credentials: It's constructed with as little material as possible, 46 per cent of which is recycled and 54 per cent of which is recyclable.
While I'm not sure I can agree with the company's claim that Generation by Knoll is 'the first chair which lets you sit and work the way you want,' it's certainly one of the most comfortable, supportive and flexible office chairs on the market at the moment - and definitely one of the most reasonably priced.
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